If you follow me on social media, you have probably seen my friendly reminders to check your account balance every morning.
We all love surprises but no one likes to be surprised by a negative bank account balance.
Before I began my financial journey began, checking my account balance was like a game of roulette. I’d estimate how much money I thought I had and I would often find myself terribly, terribly, sadly mistaken.
It was an awful cycle. The feelings of guilt and shame would overcome me and I’d call my mom and ask her to spot me until my next paycheck. But come next paycheck I’d be in the same situation because I hadn’t put any measures in place to stop overdrafts and overspending from happening again.
When I decided to take control of my finances I knew I had to get organized. I also knew I had to put measures in place to protect me from myself.
So, I made it a habit to be in the know about how much money I had in my checking account rather than guess. I check my account balance every morning.
I’ve heard others say it makes the sad to know how little money they have, but in my opinion, and I think it’s safe to say that I am not alone in this assumption, it’s even sadder to find out not only are you broke you owe money to the bank for overdrafting!
There are practices such as overdraft protection put in place to “prevent” these fees, but at what cost? My bank, USAA, has over draft protection connected to my credit card, but they charge a cash advance fee if I overdraft. Some banks connect it to your savings account, but you are deducting money from your savings because of sheer carelessness and not spending that money towards your goals.
Banks also have notifications. Account balance notifications, okay, but not fool proof. What if something comes out after that notification was packaged? And forget about the “Let me know when my account gets before $50″ alerts. What if you have $51 in your account? You’re out here running around thinking you have it, when you only have a $1 over!
If you are hiding from your bank account I urge you to stop it NOW! Seriously. Stop playing peek-a-boo with your money.
Put practices in place that help you save you from yourself. This doesn’t mean check your account to find out how much you can spare to spend at Target or the Loft additional 40% clearance sale. This means check your account so that you know what is going on with you money as you embark on your day.
I also urge you to use the My Fab Finance Financial Planner (which is on sale for $5 this week!) or some other method to get organized. The planner comes with a calendar so you can chart your due dates and never miss another payment again. It also comes with an expense tracker and 3 other pages of goodness to keep you organized.
I can happily say I haven’t paid an overdraft fee on my primary account in over two years (Bank of America tried to sneak one in there on an account I was keeping open as a convenience to others). It feels amazing to keep my money in my account, monitor my self control, and hear my mother say, “I know you are finally an adult, because you don’t ask me to borrow money any more“.
Moral of the story? The only financial surprises we like are deposits and checks in the mail.